[Johannesburg, 6 February 2018]: In line with international standards, thermoplastic piping specialist, Plasti-Tech has introduced high-density polyethylene stub ends labelled with a Lynx laser printer using invisible laser-radiation. Plasti-Tech becomes the first supplier to offer HDPE butt ends with this sort of labelling in South Africa, moving away from the conventional white marker approach.
Highlighting the significance of traceability and accountability in the manufacture of stub ends, Plasti-Tech managing member Brad Chamont states that the local thermoplastic piping company has become the first supplier in South Africa to offer high-density polyethylene (HDPE PE100) stub ends labelled by means of a Lynx laser printer which utilises laser-radiation.
He highlights the worrying lack of traceability in the market for HDPE stub ends in South Africa, owing to the fact that there is no identification and marking tools for these products. This creates room for manufacturers to turn a blind eye on the quality of their products, bearing in mind that there is no traceability and, subsequently lack of accountability for failures that may occur as a result of installing poor quality HDPE fittings.
Chamont highlights that the importance of labelling stub ends using the Lynx laser machine is that the manufacturer’s mark, size and pressure rating markings are permanently visible, and these cannot be tampered with without damaging the butt ends. This helps holding manufacturers accountable for the quality they produce.
“The labelling method currently being used across the local market is a white marker. The obvious shortcoming of this approach is that this can be rubbed off during regular handling of the butt ends,” says Chamont.
Internationally, the European Standards Association compels that manufacturer names and fittings information be clearly marked on all HDPE fittings. Barcodes also form part of the standards to facilitate easy of traceability. In line with these international standards, the Installation and Fabrication Plastics Pipes Association (IFPA) is, in the next few months, scheduled to pass a regulation that compels labelling of stub ends using permanent markings such as the Lynx laser printer locally. Chamont is confident that Plasti-Tech’s labelling model will conform to the IFPA standards.
Plasti-Tech has been in the business of supplying stub ends for the past four years. In line with its best-practice approach, the company engaged the services of a local manufacturer that has agreed to manufacture and label the stub ends using the Lynx laser printer. These are available in sizes of between 50 mm and 355 mm in diameter with diverse pressure classes. “The IFPA has requested suppliers to have manufacturers’ names and all the necessary identifiable markings regarding the size pressure and STR,” explains Chamont.
He further explains that these standards are very crucial, bearing in mind the criticality of stub ends in applications they are used. Stub ends form parts of a mechanical joints that comprise two components: namely, the stub end, which essentially is a short length of pipe which has one end that is flared outwards and the other prepared to be welded to a pipe of the same thermoplastic material and of a similar wall thickness, as well as the lap joint flange, which is a ring backing flange.
The combination of stub ends and backing flanges is an alternative to the use of a conventional pipe to pipe butt-weld. Typical applications include slurry pipelines where sections of the pipeline can be easily removed and replaced in sections due to the stub and flange mechanical connection.
“Once pipes are welded, you can’t remove sections or repair them. With a stub and flange system, the stub ends are bolted together to join pipe lengths. So, basically a stub end is a mechanical connection of an HDPE pipe,” concludes Chamont.
Plasti-Tech Piping Systems contact:
Tel: +27 (0) 11 609 5511
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